I discovered a new species of dragonfly: Winter Meadowhawk (Sympetrum antifreezium). Kidding!
Winter is defined in two ways: astronomical winter begins on the date of the December Solstice (around 21 December) and ends on the March Equinox (around 21 March); meteorological winter includes the months of December, January, and February. Although astronomical winter hasn’t begun (as of this writing), meterological winter began on 01 December. So I took the liberty of jokingly renaming the last species of odonate still flying during the third week in December (in Northern Virginia): Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum).
I spotted 10s of Autumn Meadowhawks at two locations in Huntley Meadows Park (HMP): most of the dragonflies were seen perching along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area; one individual was spotted near a vernal pool/small permanent pond at a remote forested location in the park.
The first two photos in this gallery show two males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.
The next photo shows a mating pair in tandem: the male is on the lower-left; the female on the upper-right.
The last two photos show a female, as indicated by her coloration and terminal appendages.
Editor’s Note: 16 December establishes a new late-date for Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies at Huntley Meadows Park. 01 January is the “official” late-date for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.
Tags: adult female, adult male, Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly, female, Huntley Meadows Park, in tandem, male, mating pair, Skimmer Family, Sympetrum vicinum, terminal appendages, vernal pool, wetlands, wildlife photography